g2 B- POLEVOI Varya's hand—for fearing that he ^ was dead, she would bend over him every now and again to feel whether his heart was beating. He was alive; he breathed regularly and deeply. He slept for the rest of the day, all night, and went on sleeping as if no power on earth could wake him. Early next morning a distant, monotonous droning could be heard indistinctly above the sounds that filled the forest. Alexei gave a start, raised his head from his pillow and listened with strained attention. Wild, irrepressible joy filled his ^ whole being. He lay motionless, his eyes flashing with agitation. He could hear the loud cracking of the stones cooling on the hearth, the feeble chirping of the cricket, tired after its night's performance, the calm and regular beat of the swaying old pine-trees that grew over the dugout, and even the patter of the heavy drops of spring moisture outside the door. But above all these sounds the steady droning could easily be distinguished. Alexei guessed that the sound came from the engine of a "U-2" aircraft. The sound now grew in volume, now subsided, but it never died out entirely. Alexei held his breath. It was evident that the aircraft was somewhere in the vicinity, that it was circling over the forest, either scouting or looking for a place to land. "Varya, Varya!" Alexei called, trying to raise himself on his elbow. But Varya was not in the dugout. Excited women's voices and hurrying footsteps were heard outside. Something was happening there. The? door of the dugout opened for an instant and Fedka's freckled face appeared. "Aunty Varya! Aunty Varya!" the boy cried out, and then added in an excited voice: "The plane! It's circling over ^us!" and vanished before Alexei could say a word. With an effort Alexei sat up. The thumping of his heart, the blood throbbing in his temples and the pain in his injured feet sent tremors through his whole body. He counted the circles the aircraft up there was making: one, two, three, and, overcome by excitement, fell back on the mattress and again plunged swiftly and irresistibly into that sound, health-giving sleep.